Do you believe in magic? The Potency of the Fantasy Genre

Matthias Stephan


This article explores the popularity of the fantasy genre in the recent decades.  In so doing, it seeks to provide a definition of the genre, claiming that fantasy literature is fiction that offers the reader a world estranged from their own, separated by nova that are supernatural or otherwise consistent with the marvelous, and which has as its dominant tone a sense of wonder. It does this through a discussion of previous definitions of fantasy, the fantastic, science fiction and supernatural horror.  Furthermore, through a consideration of texts by Tolkien, and an exploration of contemporary novels (Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant; Terry Brooks The Sword of Shannara trilogy) and other franchises (Star Wars), it demonstrates how the generic boundaries should be read outside of the traditional limitations, and how these texts, coupled with contemporary technology, offer a freer range to imagination and make fantasy a potent critical force.


Fantasy; Science Fiction; Genre; The Buried Giant; The Sword of Shannara Trilogy; Star Wars; Tolkien

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